Web Hosting: Test Website Before Going Live (Temporary Proxy Host)

Modified on Wed, 12 Jul 2023 at 07:21 AM

When creating a new website or transferring a website to a new website host, it may be helpful to test out the website before pointing a domain to the live website for the whole world to see.

For these instances you can use tools to view your test / in-development website by pointing the website to resolve to the non-live, new, or proxy host server address or IP Address. Here we will go over two methods of accomplishing this.

Note: For either one of the methods listed below, if you have web hosting with us at mywebhostingaccount.com and want to test out a website on our web hosting server, the domain first needs to be added to the web hosting (HelpDesk article: Add Domain in cPanel (Addon Domains), then you can use the mywebhostingaccount.com IP Address.

mywebhostingaccount.com server IP Address:

Method 1: Use A Website to Create A Temporary Proxy URL

skipdns.linkAt this website you can simply put in the web server address or IP Address, and the domain name you are testing. When the information is submitted, you will be able to go to the testing URL and see the website you have created, but the URL will look something like this: "http://example.skipdns.link/". These links will work for anybody, but only temporarily as they expire after a couple minutes and will need to be generated again if still needed.

Note: This method will work for many applications, but it sometimes does not work well when accessing a WordPress admin area. In order to access the WordPress admin area with this method, instead of submitting the URL and proxy IP address using the main domain, try submitting it using the WordPress admin area URL, such as example.com/wp-admin.

Method 2: Change Your Computer's "Hosts" File

Note: This method will work better when accessing the WordPress admin area.

You can change your computer's hosts file, to have a specific website point to a specific IP address. The website and IP address specified in the hosts file will only work on the computer where the local hosts file is changed. When using this option, your real domain URL will show up in the web browser URL bar, but the domain will resolve to the IP Address specified in the computer's hosts file. To view the current live public website in the browser, you will then need to erase the lines in the hosts file, or put a # in front of each line, then save the file.

Microsoft Windows

  • Go to the "Start Menu"
  • Type in "notepad"
  • Click "Run as administrator"
  • In the prompt saying "Do you want to allow this app to makes changes to your device?", click "Yes"
  • Click "File - Open"
  • Paste this in to the "File Name" field at the bottom (this file name and location will not work if the file is located elsewhere on your device): c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts
  • Click "Open"
  • Move your curser to the end of the text, then click enter a couple times to start a new line
  • On a new line, type the IP Address, then a space, then the domain name (eg: 39.594.93.9 example.com)
  • Click "File - Save"
  • Go check the domain's website in your internet browser. It may take a few minutes for the hosts file change to go through.

Apple Mac

See outside article: How to edit host files on a Mac

When you're done with testing and ready to go live with the website, if you are using web hosting with us at mywebhostingaccount.com, you can make the website live with the methods in the HelpDesk article: Point Domain(s) to New Web Hosting

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